Coastal Policy (Graduate Certificate)

Coastal Policy (Graduate Certificate)
Students at coast

The UNH Graduate Certificate in Coastal Policy offers students and professionals the opportunity to develop competencies in the U.S. coastal policy process, the science-policy interface in coastal systems, and coastal institutions and governance.

Why get a graduate certificate in coastal policy?

Coastal policy (also referred to as marine or ocean policy) is focused on public policy and governance as it relates to marine, ocean, and coastal resources. Effective management of human activities in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas is critical to our future, which includes the setting of public policy as it relates to these systems. A graduate certificate (stand-alone or companion to another graduate degree) provides unique preparation and dedicated study appropriate for a range of students and professionals with interests in applied coastal science, policy, and/or management and will help students develop expertise and grounding in policy processes.

Why study coastal policy at UNH?

Students at UNH have access to world-class, state-of-the-art marine and coastal research facilities and platforms with hands-on learning opportunities through the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, coupled with extensive partner networks in federal, state, and local government. Through coursework and practicum projects, students gain direct experience in marine science and policy. The graduate certificate bridges existing UNH course offerings and the significant applied expertise found in UNH Cooperative Extension and New Hampshire Sea Grant. Those who complete the certificate will be prepared for a range of careers, given the focus on preparing students to work in and interact with a variety of marine organizations.

Potential career areas

  • Government policy analyst (federal/state)
  • Science advisor to policy makers
  • University teaching/research
  • Non-profit science policy and advocacy
  • Natural resource management (i.e., fisheries, coastal zone, watershed, protected areas, etc.)
  • Ocean and coastal law
  • Maritime law and policy
  • Marine renewable energy development
  • Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
  • Coastal zone management

Curriculum & Requirements

The UNH Graduate Certificate in Coastal Policy offers students the opportunity to develop competencies in the U.S. coastal policy process, the science-policy interface in coastal systems, and coastal institutions and governance. This certificate is appropriate for a wide range of students and professionals with interests in applied science, policy, and/or management in coastal systems. The certificate can be pursued as a stand-alone credential or in concert with another degree at UNH. Part-time and hybrid pathways through the certificate are available.

The Coastal Policy Certificate requires a minimum of 12 credits made up of one required core class, a seminar requirement, at least six credits of electives, and one required practicum. 

Required Courses
MARI 805Introduction to Coastal and Marine Policy: Understanding US Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Policy3
MARI 801Coastal Resource Management and Policy Seminar (to be taken twice)1
MARI 901Resource Management and Policy Practicum1
Two Electives 16-8
Select one natural science, social science, or engineering elective course from the following:
CEE 822Introduction to Marine Pollution and Control4
CEE 833Public Infrastructure Asset Management4
CEE 858Stormwater Management Designs3
CEE #907Systems Analysis of the Environment3
ECON 908Environmental Economics: Theory and Policy4
ECON 909Environmental Valuation4
ESCI 871Geodesy and Positioning for Ocean Mapping4
ME 817Marine Robotics and Applications3
MEFB 825Marine Ecology4
MEFB 847Aquatic Plants in Restoration/Management4
MEFB 872Fisheries Biology: Conservation and Management4
NR 803Watershed Water Quality Management4
NR 843Addressing Arctic Challenges I4
NR 947Ecosystem Science: Theory, Practice, and Management Applications for Sustainability4
OE 854Ocean Waves and Tides4
OE 857Coastal Engineering and Processes3
OE 858Design of Ocean Structures3
PHP 902Environmental Health3
PPOL 904Economics for Public Policy3
RAM 867Social Impact Assessment4
RECO 808Environmental Economics4
SOC 825Social Demography4
SOC 830Communities and the Environment4
SOC 901Sociological Methods I: Intermediate Social Statistics4
SOC 904Sociological Methods IV: Qualitative and Historical Research Methods4
Select one policy elective course from the following:
BIOL 950Scientific Communication2
DPP 901Integrative Approaches to Development Policy and Practice3
DPP #911Environmental Factors in Development Practice1
GRAD 844Fundamentals of Stakeholder and Community Engagement in Natural Resource Management3
NR 820International Environmental Politics and Policies for the 21st Century4
NR 824Resolving Environmental Conflicts4
PA 800Foundations and Theories of Public Administration3
PA 804Policy and Program Evaluation3
POLT 851Comparative Environmental Politics and Policy4
PPOL 806Fundamentals of Policy Analysis3
PPOL 812Strategies for Policy Impact3
PPOL 904Economics for Public Policy3
PPOL 902Strategy and Practice of Public Policy3
RAM 911Natural and Environmental Resource Management4

See advisor about additional course options.

Apply now


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: August 15 (preferred July 1)
  • Spring: Dec. 15 (preferred December 1)
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $25

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of Recommendation: 2 Required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Please prepare a statement of no more than two pages outlining:

  1. The reasons you wish to pursue a graduate certificate in this field of work, including how you see the certificate advancing your career interests.
  2. Your specific academic or professional interests and experiences related to the certificate focus area and how they prepare you for success in this program.


A current resume is required with your submitted application.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.